What is Harvard Looking For?
So you have decided that you want to attend a small Ivy League school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Simply put, Harvard looks for leaders and world-beaters.
Harvard seeks out highly talented and driven self-starters who will be leaders in their fields, whether it be in the academic or business realm.
Harvard rates every applicant in two separate areas on a 1 to 6 scale (1 being the highest and 6 being the lowest): (1) Academic Rating and (2) Personal Rating.
Harvard, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who love learning for the sake of learning.
Harvard, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who are the best at one thing and not for students who are well-rounded.
Harvard Recommendation Letter
At Harvard, each recommendation letter is weighed individually and given a separate score. Because the applicant pool is so stellar at Harvard with an overflow of people who have the highest academic qualifications, recommendation letters at Harvard are critical to distinguish perfect students who are good from perfect students who are great.
Harvard looks closely for evidence of intellectual vitality, leadership, and the potential for contribution in the recommendation letters. In addition, everyone’s file goes to the admissions committee for a vote.
Harvard Supplemental Essays
Solomon Admissions provides extensive guidance on the Harvard supplemental essays to its clients, and here is an example of how our former admissions officers would recommend approaching the Harvard supplementals:
You may wish to include an additional essay if you feel that the college application forms do not provide sufficient opportunity to convey important information about yourself or your accomplishments.
You may write on a topic of your choice, or you may choose from one of the following topics:
- Unusual circumstances in your life
- Travel or living experiences in other countries
- What you would want your future college roommate to know about you
- An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you
- How you hope to use your college education
- A list of books you have read during the past twelve months
Harvard really seeks students who will contribute to campus life, as evidenced by the fact that many Harvard freshmen start clubs and organizations on campus related to their interests and passions.
At Solomon Admissions, we recommend that students outline how they plan to contribute to the Harvard community, both academically through undergraduate research and extra-curricularly.
In the Harvard supplemental essay, make sure to research specific professors you want to conduct undergraduate research with, as well as specific classes you want to take and clubs you would like to participate in.